Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When Human Leaders Fail

““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”” (Isaiah 55:8–9, NASB95)

Curse the Affordable Health Care Plan as an oppressive, ineffective, and expensive intrusion, or curse the House as obstructionists who knowingly submitted a Bill to the Senate which they knew the Senate and the President would not agree with grinding the federal government to a stop (sort-of). This is where many people find themselves today with their emotions set in one camp or the other, along with countless others who don’t know which way to turn, or who may have even been turned away from a National Park or some other federal agency. Government, no matter which way you slice it in times like these can be demanding on people and frustrating to their intentions or expectations.

Samuel was made aware of this tension by God when the people of Israel first demanded a king. God told Samuel to listen to them and that He would give them their king for it was not Samuel they were rejecting but God.

“So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. He said [I’ve removed a lot of the points to drive the point], “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take…. He will appoint for himself…. He will also take…. He will take the best of …. and give them to …. He will take a tenth of your …. and give to …. He will also take your … for his work. He will take a tenth of your ..., and you yourselves will become his servants. Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.””

“Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel…. Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the LORD’S hearing. The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint them a king.”” … (1 Samuel 8:10–22, NASB95)

And of course the first king did not measure up. The second king, David, was called as a man after God’s own heart, but also had his strong shortcomings, and the rest of the kings, with rare exception, continued to worsen. Whether they were kings of the Jewish nation or kings of other nations, the things spoken by Samuel for God rang true throughout time.

The apostle Paul, writing during the time of a harsh Roman rule, penned, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:1–7, NASB95)

Now this is not to say that rulers are godly and serve God, for many have been quite evil. But rather that all rulers serve at the will of God and that rule is established by God for the welfare of mankind. In so far as man has opted to choose human rule, God has granted Him that rule and expects man to submit to that rule as a matter of conscience before God. Where there has come a rub over time is when that conscience conflicts with that of the demands of rulers. We are seeing some of that today, just as we saw with the apostles as is recorded in Acts, including six chapters at the end of Acts telling of Paul being moved from one court to another, eventually winding up in Rome at the court of Caesar where he remained in profitable ministry for two years prior to his release which itself would not be his last.

It is also not to say that in a country such as the United States that we are to remain silent, and to not engage ourselves in politics. But even then, we need to be careful that we do so with God shaping how He would have us serve, speak, and vote just as we would have Him shape all of our steps.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NASB95)

I know this doesn’t exactly go where the focus of “Jesus Calling” is today, and maybe that is why it took me so long to come back to this post. But the first paragraph of Sarah’s framed up against the backdrop of the vocal diatribe prevalent today continued to compete in my heart, and this is where my mind went as I also reflected on the established conflict that has arisen throughout history when human leadership and even submission does not line up with seeking and following after that of our Heavenly Father and His Son. His ways are indeed higher than our ways.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/1)

Worship Me only. I am King of kings and Lord of lords, dwelling in the unapproachable Light. I am taking care of you! I am not only committed to caring for you, but I am also absolutely capable of doing so. Rest in Me, My weary one, for this is a form of worship.

Though self-flagellation has gone out of style, many of My children drive themselves like racehorses. They whip themselves into action, ignoring how exhausted they are. They forget that I am sovereign and that My ways are higher than theirs. Underneath their driven service, they may secretly resent Me as a harsh taskmaster. Their worship of Me is lukewarm, because I am no longer their First Love.

My invitation never changes: Come to Me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest. Worship Me by resting peacefully in My Presence.

“which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15–16, NASB95)

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4, NASB95)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NASB95)

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